Did you know? Hay fever has nothing to do with hay, and it isn’t even a fever! Instead, it has everything to do with indoor and outdoor allergens. Allow us to answer frequently asked questions about hay fever:
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by allergens such as pollen (weed, grass, or tree), mold spores, dust mites, and cockroach particles. When these allergens enter your body, your immune system will release histamine, causing frustrating cold-like symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Many people mistaken hay fever for the common cold because the symptoms are so similar! If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from allergies: congestion, itchy eyes, dark circles under the eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes.
How do I know if it’s the common cold or hay fever?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, consider the following factors:
- Length of time: A cold will go away after 7 – 10 days; allergies will not.
- Mucus color: A cold will produce green or yellow mucus; allergies will produce clear mucus.
- Current season: A cold is more common during winter; allergies are yearlong.
- Fever: A cold may produce a fever; allergies will not.
Is there treatment for hay fever?
Yes! There are different treatment options for hay fever such as nasal sprays, medications, antihistamines, or decongestants. If your hay fever is severe, you may want to consider immunotherapy. This treatment option targets the root of the problem – the overproduction of histamine in your immune system. It teaches your immune system to respond appropriately when you’re near the allergen.
Who is at risk for developing hay fever?
People who struggle with allergies or asthma may be more likely to develop hay fever. Other risk factors include gender and age, genetic factors, and excessive exposure to secondhand smoke.